Ardour tips

Since Ardour support can be… annoying, I thought I’d start posting tips and workarounds here, in no particular order. Feel free to submit any of your own via Discord.

  • First and foremost: If you’re looking for something for serious MIDI editing and arrangement, Ardour is not your guy. I very much get the feeling MIDI is a convenience in Ardour with the goal of producing audio. For serious MIDI work, use Rosegarden or other MIDI-serious software.
  • USB MIDI: You absolutely can use a USB hub. Maybe not a cheap one the size of an ipod, though, so get a decent one. I’ve been given “you need to connect directly to your computer advice,” which is BS. If you have multiple USB MIDI instruments, you can’t connect them all directly.
  • If you’ve disabled then re-enabled follow range, and follow range is no longer working, restart Ardour. If that doesn’t work, back up your ~/.config/ardour8 dir and let Ardour create a new one.
  • If you’ve duplicated a MIDI track and the notes aren’t playing in the new track, but the output assignment is correct and notes sound from the virtual keyboard, delete the duplicated track, create a new track, and copy/paste regions from the old track to the new one.
  • Ardour does not send MIDI clock or timecode by default. You need to enable these in Preferences -> Transport -> Generate.
  • When editing a single note, you need to tab out of the last field you edit, or the change won’t take effect when you click “Apply.”
  • Dropping MIDI connections: The official word from Ardour devs is that this is a hardware problem. You’re using a USB hub, or whatever. All I’m going to say is that Rosegarden does not have this problem. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a “won’t fix” situation. But because Ardour is so good for handling audio, I simply put up with it.
  • Notes still exist after splitting regions: No idea why it was done this way. Logically, if you split a region and then delete one of the new regions created from the old one, you expect those notes to be gone. But they’re not. Dragging the old region out reveals that the notes you wanted gone are still there. You’ll have to delete those notes from the region.

media-sound/alsa-tools-1.1.6 fails with pcxhr error

If you do not have a Digigram PCXHR, you can resolve this by changing



ALSA_CARDS="emu10k1 emu10k1x hdsp hdspm ice1712 mixart rme32 rme96 sb16 sbawe sscape usb-usx2y vx222"

in /etc/portage/make.conf.

ERROR: Failed to compile the “firmware_install” target…

genkernel needs to be keyworded ~amd64 in /etc/portage/package.keywords/sys-kernel:

sys-kernel/genkernel ~amd64

Once you have updated genkernel, this problem should be resolved.

For more info, see this post:


If, after installing, you kernel hangs on boot but doesn’t actually panic, you might need to perform the following:

  1. Edit /etc/default/grub by adding this line: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="acpi=off nomodeset xforcevesa"
  2. Make sure boot partition is mounted: mount /dev/sda2 /boot in chroot or mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/gentoo/boot outside of chroot.
  3. grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  4. Reboot.


Running eix-sync, you get:

fatal: destination path '.' already exists and is not an empty directory.


rm -rvf /usr/local/portage


X-Runs: Known Causes

The following are known causes of x-runs. There is nothing you can do about this except avoid/ignore them.

  • Firefox with JACK support. Don’t use Firefox while recording.
  • jack_keyboard causes an x-run when exiting.
  • Ardour may cause an x-run or two when starting/exiting. This can be ignored.
  • Audacity may cause an x-run when starting/exiting.

If x-runs occur while using a JACK program normally, you need to tweak your settings until you have zero x-runs under normal use. Generally, start as low as you can with your buffer size and work your way up. Start as high as you can with your sample rate and work your way down. The number of periods should be 2 or 3 – you will have to experiment to see which works better on your system. If you establish a zero-x-run config and you are not happy with the latency, you will need hardware that can handle a lower latency without x-runs, or decide that occasional x-runs do not interfere with your creative process. (For audio recording, this may not be possible, but for non-recording uses, it may be.)

Software Installation Issues

Sooperlooper: The wxwidgets use flag is required in order for the slgui component to be compiled.